​​Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation letter (MSPE) is a required component of the residency application, written in accordance with AAMC recommendations and requirements. Sometimes the letter is referred to as the Dean’s Letter.

The purpose is not to advocate for the student, but to provide a factual narrative and overall assessment of medical student progress and performance during medical school. The MSPE is used by residency directors, along with other application materials, to identify appropriate candidates for their residency programs.

The Process

The MSPE is compiled by Student Affairs throughout the year.

Reviewing Your Draft MSPE

You will receive a final draft of your MSPE in late August, at which point you will be allowed to review it for accuracy only. We will not be able to accommodate any requests for additional clerkships.

As part of this final review process, you must complete an electronic release form, which allows us to upload your MSPE to the residency application systems.

  • Once the release form is received, Student Affairs can finalize the document and upload it to the system

You will receive a final copy of your MSPE after September 29, and a hard copy will be placed in your student file.

Releasing Your MSPE to Programs

MSPEs are released to residency programs on the date specified by the AAMC, irrespective of the specialty application deadline.


Any questions regarding this process should be directed to Student Affairs: mspe@uw.edu. Melissa Zent will assist you via this email address.

  • Melissa Zent is the manager of the MSPE process
  • Sarah Wood is the UW administrator of the residency application systems and oversees the MSPE production process

MSPE Sections

It may be helpful to review a sample of a MSPE/Dean’s Letter.

MSPE Sample 2021

This section is written by you, the student. The format is a bulleted list of no more than three noteworthy characteristics, each no longer than two sentences.

The purpose of this section is to showcase your unique activities and/or achievements primarily during medical school. You may also use it to highlight unique aspects of your background (e.g. unusual experiences, research, Peace Corps, etc.). In general, it is not advisable to use a bullet point to explain extenuating circumstances that affected your medical education.

We recommend this strategic approach to selecting content for your bullet points.

  1. Review each section of your CV (Leadership, Awards, Community Service, Research, Professional Experience, Mentoring, etc.)
  2. Choose 3 entries that you are proud of that represent the scope of your experiences across 2-3 sections of your CV.
  3. Draft your bullet points accordingly.

Your Specialty Career Advisor, College Mentor, and/or Career Advisors may be able to provide feedback.

Noteworthy Characteristics Instructions 2021

Brainstorming Bullet Points 2021

This section reports on any remediation, expansions, leaves of absence, or concurrent degrees in the student record.

This section includes professional performance and the evaluations from each of the 3rd-year required clerkships, along with any 4th-year or elective clerkships taken through Spring Quarter.

Evaluations may be edited by Student Affairs for grammar, spelling, redundancy, or length, but are not edited substantively.

Students should review their grades/evaluations after they are received from their respective clerkships. Any discrepancies should be addressed in accordance with the UWSOM’s grade appeal process and timelines.

Student Affairs and the Deans do not have the authority to adjust grades or the content of evaluations.

This area contains AOA or Gold Humanism Honor Society status.

Each student’s MSPE will summarize their clinical performance with the assignment of a summary word:

  • Outstanding
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good

The summary word is based on a student’s performance in the 3rd-year required clerkship performance as compared to the overall performance of the class.

Grades from different clerkships receive different weightings in the summary word calculation, based on the individual grade distributions of each clerkship. Only the final grades are used; clinical performance and exam scores do not factor in.

If a student expands, takes a leave of absence, or is an MD-PhD student, their word will be calculated with the class with which they completed their 3rd-year required clerkships.

The failure of any required clerkship will automatically result in the assignment of “Good” as the summary word.

The summary word will be stated as follows:

  • “Dorothea’s performance in the clinical curriculum was Very Good.”

An appendix describing the school’s curriculum, evaluation system, and other information related to the UWSOM’s educational programs and policies is attached to each MSPE.


Alumni Needing a MSPE for Fellowship or Residency Application

If you are a graduate of the UW School of Medicine and need a copy of your MSPE/Dean’s Letter, please email Student Affairs, with the following information:

  • Name (please include your full name, with any previous names used while enrolled)
  • Graduation year
  • Email address
  • Any specific handling instructions